The best way to learn about wine is to drink wine, QED.
To that end, and in honor of the election there, this weekend we tried a down-market trip through four of France's wine regions: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone and. . . the Loire.
The Loire is not known for "great wines" in the same way that Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Rhone are. But this weekend, the Loire was the big winner, care of Charles Joguet's Chinon Cuvee Terroir 2004.
The Chinon appellation is located near Tours between the Loire and Vienne rivers, encompassing about 4,700 acres and nineteen towns. Back in the Day we'd take day trips from L'Etang-la-Ville to see the great homes (chateaux) of the Loire.
So perhaps I've got a bit of sentimentality for the region. It's really beautiful, BTW.
This particular wine, one of a number of cuvées produced by Charles Joguet, is like its siblings an expression of Cabernet Franc. Visit the webpage for a trip through his different offerings.
We let the wine breathe for about 30 minutes before serving it in cheap (but effective) Ikea baloonish wine glasses. That was an excellent decision - this wine had an incredibly interesting nose, slightly funky in a mature Bordeaux way - smoky and complex, and very distinctive.
The wine was earthy, peppery, with smooth tannins and a quick finish that reminded me of black currants. I could almost taste the heat that had baked the grapes in a late French afternoon. Curiously, some of the mature scents from the nose didn't carry over to the palate - it didn't have anything mushroomy or "forest floor" about it, which was OK by me.
Ready for the good news? I paid about $13 for it. If the tasting notes I've read about their 2005 vintage are to be believed, that one should be even better.
If you've got a "surprise wine find" you'd care to share, let me know about it.